Major Charles ‘Larry’ Deibert
After graduation in 1954 from Wy’East High School in Odell, Oregon, Deibert joined the Marine Corps and served as a radio operator. After returning to Oregon as a Marine Reservist, he was encouraged to transfer to the Oregon National Guard. Deibert attended OCS, flight school, jump school, and jungle survival school before volunteering for Vietnam in 1966. Serving as a platoon leader in the 220th Reconnaissance Airplane Company, he flew a Cessna O-1 Bird Dog. On September 10, 1967, Deibert was called in to support a thousand Marines at Con Thien, under artillery and “human wave assaults” from the North Vietnam Army. For seven hours, he flew through heavy ground fire, calling in support, and identifying enemy positions with white phosphorus rockets. Deibert hit three North Vietnam Army machine gun positions, killing the crews, and discovered a safe route for helicopters to come in for recovery of the Marines. He also led a force back to retrieve 20 wounded and dead Marines pinned in a bomb crater. He received the Navy Cross for his actions on that mission. Overall, Deibert flew over 570 missions, earning two Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Vietnam Crosses for Gallantry, a Bronze Star, two Meritorious Service Medals, and the Distinguished Service Cross, making him the most decorated Oregon aviator. Deibert retired from the military after 22 years and was appointed Civilian Aide to the US Secretary of the Army. He serves as a liaison between the Army and the State of Oregon. The Oregon Army National Guard aviation facility in Salem, Oregon, is named in Diebert’s honor.